Beginning on Monday, October 12, 2020, a month-long project (through November 13th) partially closed Interstate 15 northbound through the Virgin River Gorge in Phoenix, Arizona. The roadway was shut down to one lane so that repairs can be made to the bridge caused by a semi-truck accident that occurred in August.
Wide-load haulers as well as other motorists are being encouraged by the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) to allow for extra travel time to move through the area.
Construction crews will be working around the clock to fix the bridge and the southbound lanes will not be impacted.
Any vehicle that measures wider than 10 feet will need to make a 224-mile detour around the construction zone. Vehicles measuring less than 10 feet wide are able to pass through the construction zone; however, they should do so cautiously and ensure they pay attention to both construction personnel and equipment.
Signs have been put up to inform wide-load drivers to the detour route. The detour involves taking the following roads: Nevada State Route 319 and Utah State Route 56 between Las Vegas and Cedar City, Utah, and U.S. 93.
A fiery accident that involved a semi-truck traveling northbound on I-15 in August led to the damage. The semi crashed and caught fire as it crossed bridge No. 7. This crash and fire left the bridge deck, concrete barrier, and guardrail damaged and in need of repair.
Arizona trucking laws, regulations and permits
ADOT, along with state representatives, those involved in the trucking industry, local law enforcement and the Department of Public Safety all work collaboratively to keep the laws governing the trucking industry up-to-date. They work together to amend permits for both oversize and overweight trucks, as well as making allowances for said vehicles (and their loads) to be on the highway.
The rules Arizona truckers are required to follow include rules for the application of driver eligibility and use requirements of various permits available to those working in the trucking industry. Each permit available to truckers has rules specific, which include sticking to specific activities, following all restrictions and requirements for the permit, and various driving practices.
Additionally, truckers also must follow statutes, including approvals and fees, authority for issuance, conditions, and restrictions.
There are 5 types of permits that truckers can apply for in Arizona:
1. Class C permit
For drivers who carry oversized or overweight loads—those that exceed 250,000 pounds or measure greater than 120 feet long, 16 feet high or 14 feet wide—a Class C permit is required. For those who frequently transport mobile homes, there are also “Easy” C Mobile Home permits available.
2. Envelope permit
An envelope permit is a basic permit to drive a load on the roadway. These permits are typically non-specific and non-reducible for a vehicle or cargo load that is less than 250,000 pounds in total weight and does not measure more than 14 feet wide, 16 feet long or 120 feet in total length.
Additionally, a truck with an envelope permit must have a minimum of 4 axles. Trucks that do not meet the axle requirement can seek approval with ADOT Enforcement and Compliance.
3. Oversize/overweight permit
Trucks that are considered oversize or overweight need special permits. Oversize/overweight permits are issued for a specific timeframe, usually for just 1 trip or for 30 days. To qualify, the load must be non-reducible, and the weight of the vehicle and load combined must be within size and weight limits.
Additionally, these permits are issued only for vehicles traveling on interstates, state routes and U.S. highways.
4. Registration or use fuel permit
Registration and/or use fuel permits are issued to drivers who are not residents of Arizona and who need to travel on Arizona roadways legally. They’re specifically required of drivers who aren’t participants of the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) or carry apportioned registration (IRP) credentials.
5. Single-Trip permit
Similar to the registration of use fuel permit and the oversize/overweight permits, there are also specific single-trip permits available. These are geared toward those who are traveling to or driving through Arizona using a foreign-based interstate carrier. The purpose of a single-trip permit is for non-resident drivers to provide evidence of a valid registration, an International Registration Plan (IRP) and a fuel tax license.
Workers’ compensation for Arizona truckers
There are numerous trucking companies that do business throughout the state of Arizona, including ABF Freight, which is headquartered in Fort Smith. Additionally, Central Arizona Freight, Eagle KMC Transportation and Northland Trucking Inc. are all nationally respected trucking companies with operations in Arizona.
With so many trucking companies doing business here, it’s important for them to understand the fact that Arizona is home to some of the country’s most dangerous roadways, which includes I-10 and I-15.
In 2018, tractor trailers (with or without a semi-trailer) were responsible for 2,247 of Arizona’s nearly 250,000 total vehicle accidents.
The most common way a truck driver can be injured while on the job is being involved in a motor vehicle accident. Since tractor trailers are such large vehicles, such accidents are often either severe or fatal. Accidents involving tractor trailers are often the result of commercial drivers losing control, which can result in drivers rolling over their vehicle.
In addition to being involved in accidents, the lifestyle truckers lead can also result in injuries that may be eligible for workers’ compensation.
Injuries and occupational illnesses common among truck drivers
Truck drivers make their living hauling heavy loads across the country. With hauling heavy loads typically comes loading and unloading items. The repetitive motion that comes with lifting heavy boxes can often cause musculoskeletal disorders in a person’s back, neck and upper extremities. To load and unload their vehicles, truckers may overextend their bodies to do so, which can lead to chronic pain.
Another common way truck drivers can be injured on the job is slip and fall accidents. Slip and falls that occur from an elevated platform when making upper floor deliveries are the most severe type of accident. Additionally, slip fall accidents occur when drivers fall out of the back of their trucks, fall while unloading a truck, lifting the latch on the back of their truck or while installing tire chains.
Likewise, it is also common for truckers to be injured by items left in the loading station. These items include:
- Lift gate
- Pallet jack
- Vehicle parts
- Winch bar
Being struck by any of these objects can easily cause injuries to a driver’s back or various body strains.
Is it time to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer?
Workers’ compensation cases can be extremely complex. Cases involving truck drivers can be even more complex since they often drive through multiple states to deliver their loads. For instance, a truck can be based in Arizona but injured in another state, which can make their workers’ compensation case more complicated.
Regardless of how or where you’re injured, your first step is to immediately report your injury to your employer. This is important so that your employer can report your injury to your insurance provider to make sure you’re compensated as quickly as possible.
As with any other workers’ comp claim, your employer and/or their insurance provider will likely request that you’re treated by a doctor of their choosing for your initial exam. Afterwards, under Arizona law, you’re free to see a doctor of your choosing for any further treatment(s).
Since workers’ compensation insurance carriers typically work to avoid paying out claims or to settle their claims for as little as possible, it’s useful to have an experienced Arizona workers’ comp attorney at the Law Offices of Robert E. Wisniewski on your side.
Additionally, if your claim is denied or your settlement offer won’t cover your expenses, it is helpful to have an attorney explain your legal rights and next steps.